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Mayor Lori Lightfoot Seeks To Require Chicago Employers To Give Workers Time Off To Get Vaccinated

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Chicago employers would be prohibited from firing or otherwise disciplining workers who take time off to get a COVID-19 vaccine, and businesses that require staff to get vaccinated would be required to compensate them for up to two hours per dose under a plan introduced by Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Wednesday.

The measure introduced to the City Council on Wednesday could get a vote as soon as next month.

The proposed ordinance would require employers to allow workers to use any available paid sick time or other paid time off to get a vaccine.

Employers who require staff to get vaccinated would be required to compensate employees for up to two hours per dose at their regular rate of pay to get vaccinated if their appointment is during a scheduled work shift.

Businesses also "shall not take adverse action against any worker for taking time off to get a vaccine against COVID-19."

Employers who violate the requirements would be subject to fines of $1,000 to $5,000.

In addition, workers who are subjected to retaliation would have the right to sue to get their jobs back if they're fired for taking time off to get vaccinated, and could recover up to three times the amount of lost wages.

The proposal from the mayor comes as the city prepares to enter Phase 1C of its vaccination plan on Monday, opening vaccine availability to all essential workers and to people age 16 and older with serious underlying health conditions that make them more vulnerable to the virus.

Last year, the City Council approved an ordinance that prohibits employers from firing, demoting, transferring, suspending, or reducing the pay of workers who stay home because they are have tested positive for the virus or are sick with symptoms of the disease, are under a quarantine or isolation order, or are caring for someone else who is.

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